|Presented by||Takeshi Kitano
|Narrated by||Shizuo Miyauchi
|Country of origin||Japan|
|No. of episodes||133|
|Running time||54 minutes|
|Original channel||Tokyo Broadcasting System|
|Original run||May 2, 1986– October 19, 1990|
Takeshi's Castle (風雲！たけし城 Fūun! Takeshi-jō , literally Showdown! Takeshi Castle) was a Japanese game show that aired between 1986 and 1990 on the Tokyo Broadcasting System. It featured the Japanese actor Takeshi Kitano (also known as Beat Takeshi) as a count who owns a castle and sets up difficult challenges for players (or a volunteer army) to get to him. The show has become a cult television hit around the world. A special live "revival" was broadcast on April 2, 2005, for TBS's 50th anniversary celebrations.
- 1 Original Takeshi's Castle
- 2 International versions
- 2.1 Arab countries
- 2.2 Australia
- 2.3 Brazil
- 2.4 Czech Republic
- 2.5 Denmark
- 2.6 Finland
- 2.7 France
- 2.8 Germany
- 2.9 Greece
- 2.10 India
- 2.11 Indonesia
- 2.12 Iran
- 2.13 Italy
- 2.14 Lithuania
- 2.15 Malaysia
- 2.16 Netherlands
- 2.17 Philippines
- 2.18 Portugal
- 2.19 Russia
- 2.20 Serbia
- 2.21 Slovakia
- 2.22 South Africa
- 2.23 Spain
- 2.24 Taiwan
- 2.25 Thailand
- 2.26 United Kingdom
- 2.27 United States
- 3 In other media
- 4 References
- 5 External links
Original Takeshi's Castle
The original show involved between 100 and 142 contestants whom General Tani (Hayato Tani) "forced" into a series of physical challenges, eliminating many of the contestants. Each show finished with a "Final Showdown" in which Count Takeshi (Kitano) was faced by the remaining contestants. In early episodes they would storm the castle set itself in a short-range water gun assault. Later episodes introduced carts with paper rings, and eventually lasers and light-sensitive targets. If the contestant's gun penetrated the paper ring or hit the sensor on Takeshi's cart, against such weapons as a large water gun and a laser-armed plane, Takeshi's cart was deactivated, the castle was "taken" and the game "won". The player who stopped Takeshi won one million yen (which, at the time, was roughly equivalent to $8,000 US or £5,000 sterling). However, there were only nine winners during the show's run.
The series featured extensive landscaping of a fixed campus at TBS-owned Midoriyama (Green Mountain) Studios that included large man-made lakes and extensive permanent obstacles in Yokohama, Japan. The final regular episode aired on April 14, 1989 followed by 4 one-off specials up until October 19, 1990.
A wide range of challenges were used throughout the history of Takeshi's Castle, some occurring only once or twice, or others in virtually every show, depending upon their popularity and ease of preparation. Many challenges involve falling into water or mud on failure.
Takeshi's Castle challenges used a wide variety of well-known songs from movies, television shows, video games, anime, and other sources.
- Count "Beat" Takeshi (ビートたけし; Kitano, born 18 January 1947) — The lord of the castle and eventual target of the competition. He also made commentary on the contestants.
- Takeshi Doll — During a prolonged period when Takeshi was forbidden to appear on television (his "punishment" for an act of violence against reporters and photos from a scandal magazine), one of the Emerald Guards filled in by wearing his robe and a giant papier-mâché Takeshi head similar to the ones sports team mascots use over their heads.
- Saburo Ishikura (石倉三郎, born 16 December 1946) — First advisor (or councillor) of Takeshi. Discussed the competition with Takeshi and provided comedy skits as well.
- Sonomanma Higashi (real name Hideo Higashikokubaru, born 16 September 1957) — Originally leader of the Emerald Guards, he replaced Ishikura as Takeshi's advisor in the middle of the series run.
- Takeshi's Gundan (Defense Troops) (たけし軍団) — The Count's guards who wore white or emerald green, seen in "Final Showdown" and other challenges, and are more popularly known as "The Emerald Guards". When Higashi became Takeshi's new advisor, Omori Utaemon took over as the leader. Other members included Matsuo Bannai, Tsumami Edamame, Yurei Yanagi, Rakkyo Ide, Great Gidayu, Dankan, Third Nagasima, "Rusher" Itamae, Taka Gadarukanaru, Hakase Suidobashi, Sintaru Mizushima and "Loyal" Tadajij Kikuchi. Rakkyo Ide was the bald guy in the "Monsters Special" who wore a shark outfit and suffered some serious bleeding when he fell in during Skipping Stones. These troops were also usually seen in the background behind Takeshi and his advisor during the show.
- General Lee (Hayato Tani) (谷隼人, born 9 September 1946) — Led the contestants through the challenges set by Count Takeshi. His real-life wife, Kikko Matsuoka (born 11 February 1947), appeared in an episode resulting in a comedic conflict between the couple.
- Tani's Assistant - On international specials (involving non-Japanese players), General Tani was assisted by a lady who served as his translator whose name is unknown.
- Junji Inagawa (also known as Jyunji Inagawa) (稲川淳二, born 9 September 1946), Akira Sakamoto (born 31 July 1949) and Shingo Yanagisawa (柳沢慎吾, born 6 March 1962) — Three of the Battlefield Reporters, however there were many more. They usually wore safari outfits.
- Kibaji Tankobo (丹古母鬼馬二, born 4 January 1950) and Shozo "Strong" Kobayashi (ストロング金剛, born 25 December 1940) — A pair of guards who would probably scare you off just by looking at them, which they normally did to contestants in the Honey Comb Maze and other games. Kibaji usually wore a long red wig, while Strong was bald, and they painted their faces to further intimidate contestants. Tankobo and Kobayashi were considered to be two of the finest henchmen Takeshi had.
- Brad Lesley, aka "Animal" (亜仁丸レスリー, 11 September 1958 – 27 April 2013) — Japanese/American baseball player. His main job was to humiliate and frighten the contestants in any possible way, usually dressed as a samurai complete with a sword. Animal has also been seen in a green sumo suit, spider costume, Fred Flintstone–style outfit, a baseball uniform and a Las Vegas–era Elvis Presley jumpsuit costume.
- Michiru Jo (城みちる, born 18 November 1957) — One of the few guards to have been involved from the very first episode and be involved until the show finished, he normally wore a distinctive pink outfit. Jo was a Japanese pop singer in the 1970s.
- Yoroi/Ritter Chuu — He stood almost sixteen feet tall and tried to keep players from reaching the goals in several games. Known in the UK as the Boxing Monster because of the size of his hands.
- Makoto Dainenji (大念寺誠) and Katsuo Tokashiki (渡嘉敷勝男, born 27 July 1960) — Makoto, a karate master, and Katsuo, a boxing champion in Japan, were the Final Fall guards, usually wearing outrageous costumes. Katsuo also served as the referee in the Sumo Rings game.
- Masanori Okada (岡田正典, born 19 October 1953) — Usually seen in the game "Slip Way", he would jump out of the water to push the contestants into the drink if they failed to reach the target. Okada has also played in the Honey Comb Maze and other games as well. Also known as the "Sea Goblin" in Japan and was a boxer in the 1970s.
- Umanosuke Ueda, (上田馬之助, 20 June 1940 – 21 December 2011) — This aggressive guard, a former wrestler in real life, has been seen in Honey Comb Maze, Square Maze, Sumo Rings, Grid Iron and Bridge Ball.
- Yousichi Shimada (島田洋七, born 10 February 1950) — A guard that was usually seen in the games Blueberry Hill in overalls akin to those worn by Dennis the Menace, and in Wipe Out dressed up as a female Native American nicknamed "Pocahontas" who would push people into the water if they missed the surfboard.
- Shoji Kinoshita and Shoichi Kinoshita — Better known as "Popcorn" (ポップコーン, born 1 January 1959), these well-known identical twin actors in Japan were commonly seen wearing rainbow ponchos and bowler hats. They have also worn baseball uniforms and other humorous costumes, appearing in the game Rice Bowl Down Hill where they would try and put the contestants off by singing a very annoying chant, 'unda unda unda' as well as Bridge Ball and other games.
- "Ordinary" Oki Bondo (大木凡人, born 1 July 1949), Takayuki Yokomizo, Nobuo Yana and Koji Sekiyama — They participated in the Karaoke game. Oki acted as the emcee, Takayuki was the bouncer who ejected contestants who did not sing well, and Koji was the owner of the karaoke bar, later replaced by Nobuo who appeared in the later episodes of the show.
- Shinoburyo (忍竜) — Sumo wrestler in Japan who appeared in the game Sumo Rings during the series.
- Large Fuji (born 26 August 1958 – 14 October 2012) — Replaced Shinoburyo in the later episodes as the purple sumo fighter in Sumo Rings.
- Konishiki Doll — Only seen in Sumo Rings and on an odd occasion of Tug of War. The Konishiki Doll was one of the Defence Troops dressed in a large costume which is meant to resemble Konishiki Yasokichi, one of the largest sumo wrestlers to ever live. Known as "Spud" in the British version.
- Noboru "Shin" Suganuma (すがぬま伸, born 5 July 1952) — Loyal member of Takeshi's Gundan, who wore red and who was a pathetic sumo wrestler in Sumo Rings.
- Ritsuko Nakayama (中山 律子, born 12 October 1942) — Also known as Refreshing Ritsuko-Ritsuko, she is a professional bowler in Japan who has appeared in the Star Bowling game.
- Yutaka Enatsu — This Japanese baseball player who was the pie thrower in Die or Pie in a single episode.
- Koji Sekiyama (関山耕司 born 22 May 1929) — Karaoke bar owner who decided whether contestants singing was good enough to progress through to the next round. Later replaced by Nobuo Yana.
- Nobuo Yana (born 13 August 1935) — Replaced Koji Sekiyama as the karaoke bar owner later in the series and decided whether a contestant had sung well enough to progress through to the next round.
- Yakayuki Yokomizo (born 2 August 1963) — Bouncer in the karaoke bar who violently withdrew contestants from the building if Sekiyama (later Yana) decided that their singing wasn't good enough.
- Geisha Girls or Bunny Girls — Led by Miyuki Ono, they helped contestants in several games and also helped Takeshi and his advisor in comedy skits. The others were Harumi Tomikawa, Mika, Mina Morishima, Sawada, and Mitsumi Yokota. Sometimes, when Junji and Shingo were off the show for other commitments, one of them served in the Battlefield Reporter's role.
- Shizuo Miyauchi (宮内鎮雄, born 24 January 1945) — Commentator for the original series in Japan. Retired from TBS in 2005 after working as a commentator for several decades.
- Ultraman - Has appeared in the show on many occasions, among other occasions the first was to help the kids through a number of the challenges in the "Kids Only" special, the second was as a replacement for General Tani (For Unknown Reasons). The third occasion was in the monster's special, along with other members of the "Ultra Brothers". (Due to an ongoing licensing dispute, "The Monster Special" episode of MXC was heavily edited upon its release on DVD, with all Ultraman characters removed.)
|Indian version (Takeshi's Castle)
|Count 'Beat' Takeshi\ Takeshi Doll||Vic Romano/Uncool Not-so-Hip Vic Romano/Zeppo the Waterhead||Master Takeshi||Count Takeshi/Yellow Baron/Red Baron||Takeshi\Mini Takeshi||Count Takeshi|
|Sonomanma Higashi||Kenny Blankenship||Bisita I||Junior||Chotu|
|General Tani||Captain Tenneal||Master Kapitan||General Lee (original/revival (Sometimes))/General Tani (revival)||Napoleon (1990–95)/General Tani (2006-07)||General Lee|
|Junji Inagawa||Guy LeDouche||The Man with the Toffee Apple||Pepe Livingstone||'Shikari Shambhu (Hunter Shambhu) '|
|Michiro Jo||Danny Glans/Jimmy Junk/Sugar Ramos Phiss/Golden Shower Boy/Barry Sosa/Spin||Captain Japan\Cowardly Custard||Pinky Winky||Choos Lee|
|Popcorn||Em on Em/Babe and Ruth/Bud and Pud/Green Gobblers (Hedda and Choda)/Jessie and Jackson/Huff and Huff||The Rainbow Warriors/Japanese Tompson Twins||Duo Pirata||Changu Mangu|
|Tani's Assistant/Chuck Wilson||Pey'once/Howie Dean||Bisita II||Corporal Kirsty||General Tano||Chotu|
|Yoroi Chuu/Jumbo Max||Skanky/Fisty||Boy Kamao||Boxing Monster/Honey Monster||Pequeño Samurai||'Raavan|
|Youshi Shimada||Chief Otto Parts/Professor G Spot/Professor N. Marian/Marty||Boy Tulak||Dennis The Menace/Pocahontas||Chupy||'Pocahontas|
|Oki Bondo||Ryan Seachest||Craig Charles||Juan Herrera & Miguel Ángel Coll (1990–95)/Fernando Costilla & Paco Bravo (2006–07)||Akashdeep Saighal|
Arab League — In Arab countries the show was called The Fort or Al Hisn (Arabic: الحصن). It aired in the mid to late 1980s where it became a cult hit. Commentary was provided by Lebanese television personality Riad Sharara (رياض شرارة), then later by Jemaal Reyaan (جمال ريان), who is currently a well known news broadcaster in Al Jazeera's Arabic TV news channel.
Australia — A version of the show was produced by The Comedy Channel, it had hosts in The Comedy Channel studio, it was redubbed, but unlike the American version it still kept to the real plot of the episode and showed the final challenge, rather than taking random footage and making up "teams". This has since been cancelled and/or finished. The show was hosted by two housemates from series two of Australian Big Brother Shannon Cleary and Nathan Morris. It also featured a crossdressing Geisha girl named Beryl. Some episodes featured a special guest third host, including Greg Fleet. Highlights appeared in Australia on the television program World's Weirdest TV. The American version MXC currently airs on Fox8 (an Australian cable network). The Australian writer and critic Clive James was once a celebrity contestant on the original show.
Brazil — During the 1990s, a version was aired by Rede Globo, called Olimpíadas do Faustão (Portuguese for "Faustão's Olympics"), as an insert in Fausto Silva's Sunday-afternoon variety show. In 1994, rival SBT copied that version, and a legal action by Globo and SBT stopped the broadcasting.  On June 1, 2008, SBT Keshi remake reappeared on TV, now licensed, remaking Faustão's known games (as Bridge Ball and The Run Way), not-seen in Globo games (as Skittles and Ride the Wave), and original games (cross a balance beam after spin, or cross a small bridge using a crank-kart). The games are a segment named "Playtime" in the "Programa Silvio Santos".
Czech Republic — It was shown by the name Takešiho hrad (Czech), with comedic voice-over by two Czech comedians. The commentary was mostly fictional. The show was popular among young viewers. The Czech TV channel also broadcast the show to Slovak Republic where it gained some popularity as well. In 2011 was Takešiho hrad broadcast on channel Prima Cool with a new single-voice comment.
France — A shortened version given a comedic voiceover by comedians Vincent Desagnat and Benjamin Morgaine has been shown on the W9 TV channel since October 2006, in a program called "Menu W9" (which also presented a shortened version of Sushi TV on its first season, now replaced by Sasuke). It has been also broadcast on the channel M6 which shown 2 episodes per day at 6.50 p.m from Tuesday to Friday. The voices were those of the late sport presenter Thierry Roland and Moon Dailly.
Germany — A dubbed version of the show aired on DSF in 1999. This version was released on a DVD box set with 12 selected episodes. Two more volumes were planned but were presumably canceled. A German dubbed version of the 2002 UK edit airs from July 3, 2007 on RTL II. There also exists an adaptation called Entern oder Kentern (engl.: Board or Capsize) with almost the same games but pirates as antagonists and celebrities as Team Captains. This version was aired on RTL in summer 2007. Shorter versions of episodes with comical commentary air on Comedy Central.
India — A shortened version (based on uk series) of the show is aired on the Pogo TV channel, with Hindi dubbing by Javed Jaffrey. Jaffrey adds humor in the show. It has become very popular in India, being shown at least twice a day and having marathon runs of 2 hours on Sundays.The show was earlier voiced by Indian comedians Raju Srivastav, Sunil Pal, Navin Prabakar and Ahsaan Qureshi. It gained huge popularity among children and adults due to its raw content. As of 2013 it is still aired Monday to Friday 7.30 am & Saturday 7.00am & 9.30 pm (repeat).
Few years later, a short-lived local adaptation was created adopting several core concepts from the original.
The show is still being aired sporadically by local channels, most recently by Global TV.
Italy— Renamed Mai dire Banzai (Never Say: Banzai!) it first aired in 1989 on Italia 1. A reedited version interspersed with clips of another Japanese gameshow called Za Gaman, it was given a comedic voiceover by Gialappa's Band, who changed Kitano's and Saburo Ishikura's names to Gennaro Olivieri and Guido Pancaldi, historically Swiss Italian judges in Games Without Frontiers. Gialappa's Band described the games and tasks as traditional Japanese past times and thus rather mundane by Japanese standards, introducing a veil of non sequitur to the show which is lacking in English language versions. As of 2008, the UK shortened version is broadcast on GXT and the voiceover is done by Italian comedians Trio Medusa (previously the show was commentated on by Marco Marzocca with Stefano Sarcinelli and still before by duo Lillo & Greg). From 10 January 2011, the series is re-transmitted in Italy on Cartoon Network and the voiceover is done by Roberto Stocchi e Francesca Draghetti.
Lithuania — The show was aired by the name "Takeši pilis", featuring Fumito Tomoi (a Japanese person living in Lithuania at the time), who dubbed the show in a comic way with his broken Lithuanian. The show was very popular.
Malaysia — The Japanese version was aired over NTV7 in early 2000s, although edited to be shortened to half an hour. The broadcast was added with Malay overdub commentary (the original Japanese audio track is still audible in background). Sometimes in earlier versions, the unoverdubbed parts will be subtitled in Malay. The show was known as Istana Takeshi in Malaysia.
Netherlands — The show was aired on August 15, 2009 on the Dutch Comedy Central. Each episode lasts half an hour and Dutch voice-over is provided by sports commentator Ronald van Dam and actor/comedian Ruben van der Meer. The episodes are a copy of the British version, since it also shows replays at the end of each challenge.
|Created by||Tokyo Broadcasting System|
|Starring||Joey de Leon
|Country of origin||Philippines|
|Original language(s)||Tagalog, English|
|Executive producer(s)||Wilma Galvante|
|Running time||30 minutes (1 hour in IBC and SBN broadcasts)|
|Picture format||480i SDTV|
|Original run||October 1990 (IBC) - October 2007 – April 2008|
|Preceded by||Just Joking|
|Followed by||Da Big Show|
Philippines - It was first shown on the Intercontinental Broadcasting Corporation TV network in October 1990 as a Tagalog-dubbed show. Later episodes contained interludes shot on a studio with actors Anjo Yllana as Takeshi and Smokey Manoloto as "Iwakura" providing the commentary with a gravelly Japanese accent, which was later dropped in favor of their natural voices. The Filipino production crew also developed on their relationship, with Iwakura often trying to trick Takeshi on several occasions. One episode which resulted in the contestants' victory was even written as Takeshi's worst nightmare; when Iwakura finally wakes him up, Takeshi is so traumatized that he asks to call off a scheduled taping. Makers of the local chocolate drink brand Ovaltine created an in-show mini contest as part of a product endorsement deal in 1991. In this version, the names given to most of the challenges are translated from their original Japanese such as "Devil's Maze" for the Honeycomb and Square Mazes, "Flying Mushroom" for Mushroom Trip, and "Sumo Wrestling" for Sumo Rings.
The IBC episodes of Takeshi's Castle were later rerun on SBN during 1993 and 1994. The show was not edited as before at IBC.
Takeshi's Castle enjoyed a revival in the Philippines in 2006. This time around, comedians Joey de Leon and Ryan Yllana (Anjo's younger brother) provide the commentary as fictional characters shogun Shintaro "Taru" Gokoyami who is Takeshi's right hand man and sumo wrestler Kakawate Takehome, the leader of the Takeshi Gundan, fictional in the sense that there are no such characters in the original cast. Initially, the two provide play-by-play commentary, but they as well as some added characters reduced themselves to skits and commentary in between clips of the show. Later, as part of Q's first anniversary, Anjo finally appeared alongside the new cast, reprising his role as "prince" Takeshi. Due to Takeshi's Castle's competitive ratings, the management of GMA Network (which produces shows for its sister network Q) decided to move the show from its original station in an evening slot, now to the early afternoon weekend slot of GMA. Takeshi's Castle is aired on a weekly basis as opposed to the weekdays airing on Q, and is aired before Eat Bulaga on Saturdays and before SOP on Sundays. This is done to increase and improve the ratings of the succeeding shows. Takeshi's Castle started to air on GMA on December 23, 2006 with same hosts. The show aired on its last episode on May 9, 2007, and after a long break of TV experience, Joey and Ryan assumed new personalities as Master GT (later Tirso Potter) and Captain B respectively. It was temporarily replaced by "Just Joking" which starred also Joey De Leon and Ryan Yllana and other casts. On August 15, 2007, "Takeshi's Castle" returned on air once again with all new episodes and Mike "Pekto" Nacua (Cookie), John Feir (Belli) and Love Añover (replacement when either Cookie or Belli was not in) become commentators. The show aired at Saturdays 11:30 a.m. before "Eat Bulaga!", and Sundays 11:15 a.m. before SOP Rules. On GMA's regional networks, a Visayan-dubbed show now on GMA Cebu & Davao from Saturdays and Sundays in the Morning by Cebuano version from title called Takeshi's Castle Wala Gyud sa Isaysay Banzai! (Never Say Banzai!).
Portugal — A version called Nunca Digas Banzai (Portuguese for "Never Say Banzai") aired in station SIC, where it reached some popularity. Voiceovers were provided by two hosts, José Carlos Malato and João Carlos Vaz. Takeshi and Ishikura were renamed "Fujimoto" and "Fujicarro" (a play on the Portuguese words for "[motor]bike" and "car" using the Japanese word Fuji), and the Portuguese hosts made no attempt to interpret the reality of the show, instead using the contestants as surrogates for the satirical comments about Portuguese public figures, in a similar style to MXC.
Russia - Show was translated and aired on 2x2 channel as "Japanese amusements" (Японские забавы) during 2011-2012 and in 2013. The format of the show is the translated commentary version of UK adaptation.
Serbia - Show started with showing on FOX TV in January 2010 named Takeši.
South Africa The show is broadcast daily on the Sony MAX channel, Channel 126 on DStv. It is the condensed version of the original series with commentary provided by Craig Charles. It began broadcasting in 2009 and is a huge hit with viewers. Due to its popularity the show has been aired to a broader audiece on SABC 2.
Spain — The program aired in the 1990s as Humor Amarillo (when translated it means "Yellow Humour" or "Yellow Comedy") on TV channel Telecinco. Comedians Juan Herrera and Miguel Ángel Coll (son of José Luis Coll) commented on the images; this version of the show has achieved cult status and there are some fansites and web petitions for returns. In fact, the Spanish version created some terms now familiar to either Takeshi's Castle or Humor Amarillo, like "El Laberinto del Chinotauro" (literally The Chinesetaur Labyrinth, name for any of the maze challenges), "Los cañones de Nakasone" (parody of "Guns of Navarone" Spanish title), "Las Zamburguesas" (for Skipping Stones),"Gacela Thompson" ("Thompson Gazelle"), a pathetic businessman character, and "Chino Cudeiro", the name assigned to a random player that always "dies", one of the most popular characters in Spain. Since January 28, 2006, the show has been dubbed again by Fernando Costilla and Paco Bravo and can be seen on Spanish TV channel Cuatro TV. They have shown every one of the original Japanese episodes, with the last one being shown on June 9, 2007, ending with a special message by the Spanish commentators. The 2006 version is currently being rebroadcast on the Telecinco-owned channel LaSiete every weekend.
Thailand — Takeshi's Castle was dubbed and shown on Channel 5 in the late 1990s. The title was changed to "Hod, Mun, Ha" (โหด มัน ฮา), or "Cruel, Thrilling, Fun".
In 2007, the unedited original series with bilingual soundtrack (Thai & Japanese) was aired on X-ZYTE channel on TrueVisions cable TV every Sunday and rerun several times throughout a week.
|Created by||Tokyo Broadcasting System|
|Written by||Ben Mole
Frederick Hutton Mills
|Narrated by||Craig Charles (2002–2004)
Richard McCourt (2013)
Dominic Wood (2013)
|Theme music composer||Jonathan Czerwik|
|Opening theme||"Takeshi's Castle"
by Jonathan Czerwik
|Ending theme||"Takeshi's Castle" Shortened Instrumental|
|Country of origin||United Kingdom|
|No. of episodes||Original series
145 (inc. 10 Specials and 13 Best Ofs)
|Executive producer(s)||Ben Mole
|Running time||30 minutes
60 minutes (specials)
|Production company(s)||Flextech/Black Mole Films (2002–2004)
|Picture format||576i (4:3 SDTV)|
|Original airing||Original series
9 November 2002 - 1 January 2004
8–29 March 2013
United Kingdom — The show was first introduced to British audiences in the late 1980s, when it was featured semi-regularly as part of LWT's Tarrant on TV, in which broadcaster Chris Tarrant showcased a variety of unusual television programmes from around the world. One of the series' previous hosts, Clive James, appeared in an original Japanese episode as an international contestant - with behind the scenes footage shown as part of his two-part ITV documentary ...in Japan in 1987.
Takeshi's Castle would become more well-known later when a condensed version of the original series proved an unexpected hit when it premiered on Challenge on 9 November 2002, regularly dominating the top ten programmes on the channel each week.
The UK format did not follow the original Japanese format - instead presenting each sequence of games as comic martial challenges leading to the final game wherein contestants not so far eliminated try to storm Takeshi's Castle. Each episode in the original run was narrated by Craig Charles. A typical episode of the UK format of Takeshi's Castle has about eight games, followed by the final Showdown. After each event, a 'Ridiculous Replay' is shown, highlighting the most entertaining attempt. Challenge decided to edit out the comedy sketches between Takeshi and Higashi to allow more (or fewer) games to be shown during the half-hour block.
More series were commissioned and shown over the next few months, culminating in a series of hour long specials in the Autumn of 2003, and a special highlights show, The A-Z of Takeshi's Castle, broadcast on January 1, 2004 which showed some of the best clips of the best games as the last original series finale. Repeats still air regularly to this day on Challenge, with an average of 130,000 viewers an episode. On 3 September 2005, MXC aired for the first time in the UK on Challenge.
On 9 May 2007, The Paul O'Grady Show had their own mini Takeshi's Castle challenge, including 'Knock Knock', 'Bite the Bun', a "Bridge Ball" adaptation called 'Balancing Act' and the 'Slippery Wall'. The UK TV series returned to Challenge after a hiatus on 7 September 2009 with a modified opening sequence (to fit with Flextech rebranding to Virgin Media Television).
In February 2010, a campaign was launched by fansite Keshi Heads in an attempt to bring a brand new series of Takeshi's Castle to Challenge within its 10th anniversary year on the channel (November 2012-13). It was suggested by campaigners that these new episodes would feature never-before-seen games (previously completely cut from other episodes), and feature five Japanese episodes new to the UK, including the Pilot and an International Special which have never been seen on TV since their original airings in Japan.
On 13 December 2012, Challenge officially announced that they had signed a deal for unseen bits of Takeshi's Castle. The new series, named "Takeshi's Castle Rebooted", which aired from 8 to 29 March 2013, featured games and episodes suggested by the Keshi Heads website in their campaign. Despite Craig Charles agreeing to return for the new series, Challenge decided to bring in Richard McCourt and Dominic Wood (alias Dick and Dom) as the new voiceovers. Hayato Tani (who played General Lee) also filmed presentation links for the new series.
"Rebooted" disappointed fans, with many complaining about Charles' replacement as voiceover. Challenge reportedly received more negative comments about Rebooted, on their social media accounts, than any other show in the channel's history, with the series never once reaching its weekly top ten ratings. The original episodes returned to Challenge after 'Rebooted' ended its run. In contrast to the newly produced series, these entered the weekly top ten rating shows almost instantly upon their return. Rebooted has since been repeated in overnight timeslots.
|Opening theme||"Firebrand" by Bumblefoot|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of episodes||81 (List of episodes)|
|Running time||~25 minutes|
|Original channel||TNN/Spike TV|
|Original run||April 13, 2003 – February 9, 2007|
In the United States, Takeshi's Castle aired as MXC (subtitled Most Extreme Elimination Challenge) on Spike TV, providing both dubbing and commentary in English that effectively spoofs the original show. The show has been broadcast in Australia.
Two attempts were made to Americanize the format:
- On July 28, 1990, FOX aired a special half-hour version of the original show premise entitled King of the Mountain. This version used the same games, but had only 10 competitors and no costumed characters to impede the players' progress. This American attempt only taped two episodes on July 24, 1988, and only one aired. The set was also used for a qualifying round in episode 106.
- On June 16, 1993, CBS aired the second attempt, entitled Storm the Castle. This hour-long version, which was packaged by Vin Di Bona Productions and hosted by Michael Burger, pitted 30 families against each other and against well-known monsters (such as Beetlejuice) in a quest to win $15,000. Unlike Mountain, Storm had a few exclusive games not seen anywhere else. Storm, like Mountain, only lasted a single episode. The show was notable as future NFL player Christian Fauria appeared with his family.
In other media
- A Famicom game with the same name was released in 1987 by Bandai. It required the use of the Family Trainer (Power Pad) to play its eight challenges. It was played on the twelfth episode of GameCenter CX. A sequel called "Fūun! Takeshi Jō Two" was released in 1988 with different challenges.
- A game based on it can be found on Habbo, however, it is different to the real-life Takeshi's Castle.
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